By Mac Cerullo
---- — BOSTON — Veteran state Reps. Michael Costello and Brad Hill retained their leadership positions in the House this week, while freshman Republican Rep. Lenny Mirra of West Newbury secured three committee assignments.
Costello, D-Newburyport, will continue as chairman of the Joint Committee on Financial Services and Hill, R-Ipswich, as minority party whip.
Mirra, who represents the 2nd Essex District, will serve as a ranking member of both the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy and the Joint Committee on Community Development and Small Businesses while also serving on the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing.
As the only freshman Republican on Beacon Hill, Mirra said he was surprised when he got the news of his assignments from the party leadership, particularly by his recognition as a ranking member on two committees.
“That’s pretty unusual,” Mirra said. “I never saw it coming, to be honest with you, they don’t tell you what they’re going to do ahead of time; you write down a piece of paper saying what committees you want and they give you a piece of paper telling you what committees you’ve got.”
Mirra said he was excited by the prospect of working with utilities and with small businesses, two areas he’s been involved his adult life at Mirra Co. in Georgetown, his family-run utility construction company.
“Working with small businesses is what I’m really looking forward to,” Mirra said. “That’s where job creation is and that’s where I’ve worked my whole life.”
For his part, Costello said he is happy to be back at the helm of the Financial Services Committee, which has oversight over state-chartered banks and credit unions, property and casualty insurers, life insurance companies and health insurers within the state.
“I look forward to continuing to work with the financial services sector this legislative session,” Costello said in a statement. “I think for the first time these companies are realizing that there are common issues that affect all of them, and they are starting to come together with a common voice to talk about those issues. That’s positive for the sector and it’s exciting for us to be able to interface with the companies in that way.”
In addition to serving as minority party whip for a second consecutive session, Hill will also be a member of the Committee on Steering, Policy and Scheduling, which is the final committee a bill goes to before it goes to the floor of the House.
As a ranking member of the state GOP, Hill also had many complimentary things to say about his party’s newest member. He said Mirra has already turned heads on Beacon Hill by diving into his job and going out of his way to meet as many people as possible right off the bat.
“He’s doing a great job, and I was at a meeting this morning and I heard nothing but good reviews,” Hill said. “He’s made constituent service a top priority, which is something he ran on.”